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New Delhi: The Delhi high court (HC) on Wednesday said that it will decide on a challenge against several laws, including the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 and the Competition Act, 2002, which allow a direct appeal to the Supreme Court from their “apex adjudicatory" bodies such as the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) and Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat).

The decision by a division bench of the high court with chief justice G. Rohini and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, refers to a recent ruling of the apex court that declared the National Tax Tribunal Act unconstitutional for taking away the high courts’ power of judicial review.

Arguing that these laws impinge upon the power of high courts to order judicial review—a part of the basic structure of the constitution—the petitioners have asked for them to be declared unconstitutional.

The court noted that adjudicatory bodies don’t have the power of judicial review akin to the high courts.

The bench will hear the case expeditiously, starting 12 January 2015, as it’s a question of “considerable importance," it said.

“The NTT judgment doesn’t stipulate that there cannot be a direct appeal to the Supreme Court. It cautions that there can be a burden created on the Supreme Court by these appeals. Appeal is a creature of statute; the Parliament has the power to prescribe the forum," said senior lawyer Arvind Datar, who has worked extensively on constitutional laws and represented the party which challenged the national tax tribunal act in the apex court. He added that impact assessment needs to be seen as to the volume of cases which arise from a particular adjudicatory authority, and whether the apex court is to be burdened with it.

The following are bodies and the laws that have been challenge:

(1) Section 23 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 - appeal against order of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

(2)Section 38 of the Advocates Act, 1961 - appeal against order of Bar Council of India

(3) Section 18 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 - appeal against order of the TDSAT

(4) Section 15Z of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act,1992 -appeal against order of the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT)

(5) Section 55 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 - appeal against order of MRTP Commission

(6) Section 53T of the Competition Act, 2002 - appeal against order of the Compat

(7) Section 30 and 31 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 - appeal against order of the Armed Forces Tribunal

(8) Section 22 of the National Green Tribunals Act, 2010 - appeal against order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)

(9) Section 125 of the Electricity Act, 2003 - appeal against order of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (Aptel)

(10) Section 423 of the Companies Act, 2013 - appeal against order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal

Apoorva contributed to this story.

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